Here is a man who boldly works on his own terms. With his own two hands he built his own compound, not just a house, but 4 buildings, one of which is purposed as a place to view the moon. It says something about Shiro that he spent the time and energy to build something dedicated to watching the moon and I dont know who wouldnt envy having one of their own.
As far as getting along in the art world, he does not enter any competitions and says that the critics can go to hell. Bravo! It’s not about pleasing the critics. With any type of work it is best to do the work for yourself first, to the best of your abilities, and then see what the world thinks.
It is unusual that he was not a Deshi (apprentice) under any Sensei (master) during the time he was learning. I myself felt cheated at a younger age when I learned of this system of learning. However I quickly learned that the entire world is full of masters at anything you care to learn about. Shiro became a potter at the age of 22 and had his first solo show by 30 which was hosted at his own residence. His knowledge traverses the range of styles that Japan is known for: Shigaraki, Iga, Shino, Kohiki (Beautiful Style), Ido, Oku-Korai, Kuro Oribe (Black Oribe) and Setoguro.
His black chawan in any style are very impressive and for one of his solo shows it was said that he made 500 teabowls in 3 months. In the documentary above he says that on a busy day he can throw 800 tea bowls or 1000 teacups. Because of the wide range of work he is producing, technical skill and probably in part due to his nonchalant demeanor, he has gained fame. There is more information on Mr. Tsujimura here at Artsy & E-Yakimono.
Here are some of his works.
(Special thanks to http://artsy.net for the use of these images. There are many more wonderful artists and works to view on their site)
Ohi Toshio – 大樋年雄 is an 11th generation Tea bowl master. I had the privilege of spending 2 days with him at Piedmont College watching him form Chawan, learning about the importance of tea in the Japanese culture and getting a glimpse into the depth and symbolism that tea ceremony and the tea bowl bring in Asian culture. (Think golden ratio kind of deep. Think Shinto kind of deep. Think about layer upon layer of symbolism.)
Mr. Ohi is a fantastic and widely knowledgeable person and I stopped taking notes exactly 3 minutes into the first workshop so that I could just focus and take in as much as possible. This was, I later found out, a 2 week session put into 2 days. The fact that he came at all speaks of his generosity. In my humble opinion you will learn more about the teabowl and the culture from deciphering the man who makes them than by memorizing any kind of technique.
Here is a man who is, a father, photographer, artist, designer, speaker and tea bowl maker (among other things probably as well). He continues a tradition began in the 1600’s while still being an artist who is true to himself. He blends and balances the new and the old through his ideals. Mr. Ohi unfortunately did not have time for me to create a proper portrait of him as the gallery and Japanese consulate were awaiting his arrival. I wanted it to be a a gift to him for imparting so much knowledge to myself and the other attendees. I am hopeful that we will meet again with more time one day.
If anyone has any questions about the workshop I will try to answer as best I can or try and locate the information requested. Please enjoy some moments from the working sessions. I apologize in advance that I did not get more pictures of the attendees but please share links if you have some. I would love to see the perspective of others.